MLS has evolved a lot in recent years. Winning back-to-back titles isn’t a walk in the park anymore. In fact, the Los Angeles Galaxy did it for the last time in 2011 and 2012. This season, the defending champs are even in danger of not advancing to the playoffs.
The Columbus Crew has gone more than a month without winning. They’ll try to put an end to the losing streak against another desperate team in FC Cincinnati on Friday night. Cincy is winless in the last 10 MLS games but earned a draw in four of the last five.
Let’s take a look at the latest news, stats, injury reports and the MLS Odds for Columbus vs Cincinnati. We’ve plenty of predictions for you to consider.
Game: Columbus Crew vs FC Cincinnati
Location: Lower.com Field, Ohio
Time: Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: MLS Live on DAZN
Major League Soccer Betting Lines
|Columbus Crew||-½ -120||-120||2½ -110o||1½ -110o/-120u|
|FC Cincinnati||+½ -110||+355||2½ -120u||½ -185o/+155u|
Head to Head
- Previous Matches: 8
- Columbus Crew Victories: 3 (15 goals)
- FC Cincinnati Victories: 2 (8 goals)
- Draws: 3
FC Cincinnati played host to Columbus Crew in July. The game ended 2-2 after the visitors were able to overcome a two-goal deficit. Edgar Castillo and Luciano Acosta scored for Cincinnati while Lucas Zelarayan and Miguel Berry scored for Columbus.
The last time they met at Lower.com Field was in September 2020 and Columbus won 3-0. Gyasi Zardes was the Player of the Match after scoring two goals.
Columbus has finished with a clean sheet in three of their eight meetings and the total went over six times.
Why Bet on Columbus Crew?
Despite losing their last six games by a 15-7 aggregate, the Columbus Crew deserves some respect. After all, they’re the reigning MLS champions and the sports betting favorites to win this game.
Most recently, they lost 2-1 to the Seattle Sounders, not bad considering Seattle leads the Western Conference.
“It sounds cliche, but you keep grinding. I think today, up until we concede, it’s one of our better performances for a while. I think we need to do more of that, but we have to learn from this,” said forward Bradley Wright-Phillips after the game.
Seattle scored both goals in the last three minutes of the game. Also, Columbus was without Zardes, their best attacking player, due to injury.
They still are one victory away from getting into the Playoffs zone and that should be enough motivation to keep fighting. Right now, they sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 24 points on a 6-6-9 record.
Columbus is slightly better when playing at home with 4-3-3 record, 4-5-1 against the spread and 7-3 over/under. Changing to a 4-2-3-1 formation helped them Crew to control the ball and be more vertical when attacking. I expect coach Caleb Porter to repeat the same formula.
Besides Zardes, Perry Kitchen and Aidan Morris are also out due to injury. Their expected lineup is Eloy Room; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Jonathan Mensah, Vito Wormgoor, Waylon Francis; Liam Fraser, Darlington Nagbe, Pedro Santos, Lucas Zelarayan, Kevin Molino; Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Why Bet on FC Cincinnati?
Well, FC Cincinnati can’t afford to lose anymore. They’re 10 points behind seventh place in the East, which means the playoffs are getting blurrier.
Most recently, they lost 4-1 to the New England Revolution. However, prior to that beating, they drew in four straight games, finishing with a clean sheet in three of them. They definitely have improved defensively, but they need a major overhaul offensively.
“I think in the first half they gave us a lot of space but what do you do with it? You need to use it; you need to be clinical in your passing as well. We needed to do a lot better,” said a disappointed head coach Jaap Stam after the loss to the Revolution.
They don’t have a lot of time to grieve, and fortunately for them, they’re better when playing away from home. Cincy is 3-3-5 when playing on the road (0-5-3 at home), 6-5 against the spread and 6-4-1 over/under.
Thanks to Toronto, they don’t have the worst defensive record, but they do own the second-worst. That’s why they recently signed experienced defender Chris Duvall, who could make his debut on Friday. Duvall has over 100 appearances in the MLS with the New York Red Bulls, CF Montreal, Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers.
They’ve scored only 19 goals, six less than Toronto, who sits in last place in the conference. Stam knows he must do something with the offense, otherwise winning will be practically impossible.
Maikel van der Werff, and Tyler Brackett are out due to injury. Their expected lineup is Przemyslaw Tyton; Nick Hagglund, Geoff Cameron, Gustavo Vallecilla, Ronald Matarrita; Haris Medunjanin, Yuya Kubo, Alvaro Barreal, Luciano Acosta, Florian Valot, Brenner da Silva.
Final Analysis, Predictions
Nothing better than a match between two desperate teams. They’ve to go all-in right from the start. I have no doubt that Columbus Crew is the better team, but the pressure could be too much for them. Cincinnati has nothing more to lose, except Stam, who could lose his job if the bad streak continues.
Not having Zardes is tough, but Columbus has plenty of time to find a replacement. Whoever gets the chance, will be eager to prove the coaching staff got it right. Don’t forget to check the Soccer Props to increase your winning chances. Take a shot on the correct score, half time/full time winner, and more.
Score Prediction: Columbus Crew 2, FC Cincinnati 1